Oiselle is thrilled to announce the launch of our Bras for Girls charitable donation program. The Bras for Girls mission is to help girls stay active and see physical activity as lifelong pursuit. We plan to donate at least 2,000 sports bras in 2017, and to share educational content about how to accurately choose and fit a sports bra, and understand our changing bodies. In 2018 and beyond, we plan to increase donations and produce "first-bra" designs just for girls.
Oiselle champions the idea of the lifelong athlete, and we especially target timeframes and transitions when girls and women might experience challenges being athletic: post-college, post-childbirth, post-menopause, etc. One timeframe that we have identified is the onset of puberty, when some girls turn away from athletic pursuits.
According to recent research, including a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, middle school is a crucial fork in the road, during which some stop participating in sports due to their changing bodies. Consider the following:
- 73% of girls report having breast-related concerns regarding exercise and sports
- 87% want to know more about breasts
- Close to half report that their breasts have an effect on their participation in sports
- Families in need may not have the resources or information to purchase a girl's first sports bra1,2
Self-consciousness, including not having a good sports bra, causes some girls to decrease physical activity - which could have a life long effect. On the other hand, getting a sports bra, learning about breast development, feeling normalized, and continuing to love body movement makes the athletic pathway easier. What a great target for intervention!
Recently, Sally Bergesen and I kicked off our first Bras for Girls event with our friends at Running for a Better Oakland. A fantastic day! The girls ranged from elementary to high school, and first did a circuit session and a 2-4 mile run. Then, Sally and I presented on the power of athletics in the female life, breast development, and how to fit a sports bra (with the help of Volée Leader Sheena Caines). RBO volunteers distributed 300 apparel items, including over 100 bras, to the group. The day exceeded all expectations.
Nancy Philippine, Executive Director of RBO: “Our students were very excited with the donation; they all came out of the house with a big smile and their hands full! On behalf of the RBO community, I want to extend our thanks for all your support.”
Sally grew up the Bay Area, and saw RBO as a great partner: “When we learned about Running for a Better Oakland, we were immediately struck by the value of what this group does. They invite and encourage youth participation in running, across all ages for girls and boys, and get them hooked on moving their bodies. There is nothing more simple and valuable than that.”
Receiving a sports bra at the right time can make a difference in how young girls view sports from that point forward. Oiselle’s goal is to remove the barriers in that formative moment, and to encourage lifelong sport participation. The lifelong benefit of sports has been well documented, driving higher rates of physical health, educational and professional success, spiritual well being, and reduced rates of health problems and illness.
We are looking for your suggestions for organizations that would make great partners: Please share your nominations with us, to spread the bra love! And thank you for your support of our Bras for Girls program!
- NYT Wellness Piece: Breast and Body Changes are Driving Girls Out of Sports
- Journal Of Adolescent Health: The Influence of the Breast on Sport and Exercise Participation in School Girls in the United Kingdom
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